Resellers get Unwired in time for Sydney launch

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New wireless broadband ISP Unwired has signed resellers and seeks more to help push its 100Mb/s service, expected to cover 95 percent of Sydney via 63 towers when it goes live in July.

New wireless broadband ISP Unwired has signed resellers and seeks more to help push its 100Mb/s service, expected to cover 95 percent of Sydney via 63 towers when it goes live in July.
David Spence, CEO at Unwired, said the company had signed some wholesale providers and resellers but was seeking more expressions of interest for the product, which should net recurring revenue for partners.
Unwired's 802.16 standard-compliant Ultra Wideband (WiMax) network was expected to cover an area roughly 50 kilometres by 60 kilometres square when the service launched in July.
He would not reveal the names of the resellers already signed.
'We'll be selling Unwired connections, to the mass market, the PC channel, in certain markets where they're selling laptops, those sorts of products,' Spence said.
He said that Unwired's wireless broadband service differed from those already offered by other wireless ISPs such as Personal Broadband Australia (PBA) or BigAir. PBA's iBurst service was good but focused on mobile wireless broadband, at 5Mb/s, rather than wireless broadband to the home or business location, he said.
BigAir was focused on Wi-Fi - 802.11-compatible technology, Spence said.
Unwired's Sydney network would cost $33 million, an amount that would enable it to compete head on with providers of DSL and cable broadband. 'To cover 95 percent of Sydney, that's chicken feed in telco terms and that will enable us to provide it [affordably],' Spence said.
Asked whether that meant targeting Telstra, Spence said he'd prefer not to comment.
Spence said that Unwired connections would be available in a box through retailers such as Harvey Norman, which owned a stake in the company.
It was expected to prove popular with Sydneysiders who rented their homes, as the connection could be moved about from place to place - avoiding the need for occupiers to lobby landlords and strata managers to install broadband infrastructure unavailable in much of Sydney, he said.
'The focus is on quite a broad market,' Spence said.
He said Unwired planned to expand nationally, but when depended on the speed of service take-up in Sydney. The company had bought rights to the high-throughput 802.16 spectrum for the whole of Australia, he added.
A previously dormant listed company, Breathe Group, had late last year been used to raise $105 million, after which it acquired Unwired's assets.
'We had 244 million shares at 90 cents so we're basically a listed company and we're all about focusing on building the Sydney network and making wireless broadband available to Sydneysiders and then using the cashflow to expand across Australia,' Spence said.
Unwired has signed the Australian division of Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson to manage its operations centre in Sydney. 'We use Uecomm fibre back to connect to the operations centre and Ericsson to manage the service,' Spence said.
In its turn, Ericsson had signed up with Cisco Systems to provide carrier class IP-based products, including professional services, to wired and wireless communications operators. Locally, companies such as Telstra are among the alliance's customers.
Spence suggested that Intel was also due to start laying its cards on the table around 802.16.
The chip-maker had been heavily involved in its Centrino bundle marketing strategy, which was dependent on 802.11-compliant technologies, so rumours of its involvement in Ultra Wideband had proved somewhat controversial, he pointed out.
It has been reported that Intel is involved in the WiMax Forum certification group, an international 802.16 fixed broadband wireless access standard lobby group.


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